Sunaya Sapurji

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Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey columnist for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Sunaya previously worked at the Toronto Star for 10 years as a copy editor and writer covering the Ontario Hockey League.

  • Wickenheiser's legacy leaves a lasting impression on hockey

    Hayley Wickenheiser
    Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold medallist and Canadian hockey legend, announced her retirement Friday. (Photo from Getty Images)

     

    A few summers ago, Hayley Wickenheiser participated in a summer camp in Cole Harbour, N.S. The camp was run by hockey coach Brad Crossley, well-known for his work with NHLers like Sidney Crosby. It was attended by a who’s who of pro hockey, including the aforementioned Pittsburgh superstar.

    After working alongside Wickenheiser on the first day of camp, Crossley went home and told his young hockey-playing daughter about the scrimmage.

    “Man, I’ve never seen a girl play hockey like that,” he told her. “It’s doesn’t matter who she’s on the ice with she’s the hardest worker and the most competitive person on the ice.”

    It’s something Alexis Crossley, now 22, has never forgotten. Like Wickenheiser, Crossley grew up playing hockey with boys because there weren’t enough girls to field competitive teams.

    “I remember when I was a kid, I hid in the

    Read More »from Wickenheiser's legacy leaves a lasting impression on hockey
  • Boll-Reaves fight
    The Ducks’ Jared Boll and Blues’ Ryan Reaves didn’t hold anything back in an all-out fight on Sunday night in Anaheim.

    In a day and age where concussions and head injuries are leading the news, the old-fashioned heavyweight hockey bout has been on the decline. The roles carried out by the enforces of yore – -the Hammers, Probies, Tigers, Grim Reapers, Knuckles, Missing Links, etc. — are no more.

    This story on Derek Boogaard’s father, Len, trying to rid hockey of fighting is an excellent reminder of the toll this aspect of the game takes on those who choose to do it.

    Still, fans of ‘Rock ’em Sock ’em Hockey’ will surely enjoy this heavyweight bout between Anaheim’s Jared Boll  and St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves. The pair land some big blows before the officials break it up.

    It’s not the first time these two have tangled, with the pair fighting each other back in 2013:

     

     

    Read More »from NHL heavyweights Boll, Reaves square off in epic fight
  • Auston Matthews jersey
    Auston Matthews’ jersey

     

    There’s no question Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews has become a legitimate NHL star playing in Toronto. The first overall pick in the NHL draft last June has lived up to the hype and collectors are taking note.

    On Sunday, the jersey that Matthews wore in the outdoor Centennial Classic — for the first period of play — sold at auction for $11,400 (all funds U.S.), not including sales tax. The auction started on Dec. 26, 2016, and the bids were made in increments of $100. Like most online auctions, there was a flurry of activity in the final hours of the sale.

    Here’s the description from NHL Auctions:

    Bid now on this jersey that was worn by Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic. This jersey was worn during the 1st period against the Detroit Red Wings on January 1st, 2017. This jersey will be collected directly from the team’s locker room by Fanatics Authentic in conjunction with the NHL and comes with an

    Read More »from Auston Matthews' game-worn jersey sells for big bucks
  • Great Dane sets badminton record for world's fastest smash (Video)

    There’s a new fastest gun in the badminton world as Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding has entered the record book with the world’s fastest smash.

    Kolding, who is listed at 6-foot-9, was clocked sending the birdie shuttlecock back to his opponents at 264 mph, setting a new record for tournament play.

    Badminton has always been considered a fast sport, but just to give you an idea, the Guinness Book of Records has tennis player Sam Groth listed for “the fastest serve of a tennis ball”  at 163.4 mph. A cheetah, named Sarah, ran 100m in a time of 5.95 seconds –  at 61 mph. And major-league pitcher Aroldis Chapman – then with the Cincinnati Reds – holds the record for fastest pitch, clocking in at 105.1 mph.

    Kolding’s smash came during a doubles match with his partner in India’s Premiere Badminton League.

    Almost as impressive as the smash, is the commentary that goes along with it:

    After setting the new mark, Kolding was awarded a check for 21,000 Rupees, which roughly works out to $308 U.S.

    Read More »from Great Dane sets badminton record for world's fastest smash (Video)
  • Patrik Laine's mom helps set up birthday surprise for Jets fan

    Patrick Laine's birthday surprise (Photo: @marcopolo_1979)
    Patrik Laine’s birthday surprise (Photo: @marcopolo_1979)

     

    Social media doesn’t always bring out the best in people. In the right hands, though, it can also be an amazing tool as seen in the case of a young fan named Lucas, who had his birthday wish of meeting Patrik Laine come true.

    It turns out, Lucas – a soon-to-be 8-year-old – had written a letter to his favourite player, Winnipeg Jets star Patrick Laine. The letter was an invitation to Lucas’ birthday party on Jan. 7.

    Lucas’ uncle posted the letter on Twitter, which caught the eye of Laine’s mom, Tuija, who lives with the Jets rookie in Winnipeg

    LaineTweets

    Unfortunately for Lucas, Laine wasn’t able to attend his party, but he still showed up with birthday presents for his young fan.

    Included in Lucas’ birthday haul was a signed

    Read More »from Patrik Laine's mom helps set up birthday surprise for Jets fan
  • Czech, Russia U18 women's teams brawl at Worlds (Video)

    It’s not often you see a full-scale brawl in a women’s game, or at a world championship tournament.

    But on Wednesday at the under-18 women’s world championship quarterfinal there was an ol’ fashioned battle royal between Russia and the Czech Republic. The fights broke out near the end of the game – a 2-0 win for the Russians.

    Russia will play the U.S. in the semifinal, but they’ll have to do so without two players – including captain Nina Pirogova (No. 13 in the video) – who was suspended one game by the IIHF disciplinary panel for “repeatedly punching” Natalie Mlynkova (No. 15) of the Czech Republic in the head. Thankfully the gloves never come off and everyone is wearing a full-cage.

    Pirogova, a defender, was reportedly upset with the liberties the Czechs were taking with Russian goaltender Valeria Merkusheva and decided to send a message.

    “It’s important to guard your goalie and prevent any aggression from the opposite team,” Pirogova told fhr.ru.

    “They started to attack

    Read More »from Czech, Russia U18 women's teams brawl at Worlds (Video)
  • Hurricanes play epic prank on teammate Ryan Murphy (Video)

    Ryan Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes (Photo: Justin Faulk)
    Ryan Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes (Photo: Justin Faulk)

     

    Poor Ryan Murphy. The Carolina Hurricanes defenceman was the target of an epic prank carried out by his teammates which was posted to Twitter on Thursday.

    The prank – uploaded by Canes defenceman Justin Faulk – features the interior of Murphy’s BMW filled to the brim with packing peanuts. Not even the backseats or trunk are spared.

    Understandably, Murphy, did not take it well unleashing a torrent of expletives.

    WARNING: This video contains graphic language

    Faulk also posted a clean-up clip with Murphy using a shovel to clear the mess.

    Murphy, for his part, looks like he’s eager for a little payback:

    Read More »from Hurricanes play epic prank on teammate Ryan Murphy (Video)
  • Report: IIHF could axe shootouts for gold medal games

    Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.
    Canada loses WJC final to Team USA 5-4 in a shootout.

     

    No one likes to lose in a shootout. It’s widely derided as a skills competition and in many cases fans – particularly ones on the losing side – feel cheated by the outcome.

    And it’s even worse when national pride is on the line in a gold medal game. At the recent world junior championships, there were two pivotal games decided by shootouts – one that sent the Russia to the bronze medal match (Team USA won that semifinal) and, of course, the gold medal game that gave the U.S. a 5-4 victory over Canada in 60-plus minutes of thrilling hockey.

    Not everyone was pumped about the way the game ended, regardless of who won.

    Former NHLer and one of USA Hockey’s greatest players – Mike Modano – might get his wish. According to TSN reporter Darren Dreger, IIHF officials from both Canada and the U.S. are investigating some potential

    Read More »from Report: IIHF could axe shootouts for gold medal games
  • Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.
    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.

     

    It has been a long, arduous haul for former Philadelphia Flyers star Brian Propp.

    Some 16 months ago the 57-year-old suffered a debilitating stroke which left him unable to speak. Even today, Propp told WPVI-TV that he still has trouble dressing and feeding himself.

    It’s a little awe inspiring, then, to find out Propp will be one of the stars skating in Saturday’s alumni game for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary celebrations.

    “I have to take it slowly. Mentally, I’m not there yet. My brain doesn’t work that well yet. I have trouble with numbers, days of the week, and things like that. So it’s just going to take me a little time,” Propp told reporter Jamie Apody.

    Propp suffered his stroke in September of 2015 and has been on the mend ever since, telling the TV station:

    “I remember falling out of bed in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

    Propp’s right side was motionless and his

    Read More »from Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke
  • Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.
    Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brian Propp.

     

    It has been a long, arduous haul for former Philadelphia Flyers star Brian Propp.

    Some 16 months ago the 57-year-old suffered a debilitating stroke which left him unable to speak. Even today, Propp told WPVI-TV that he still has trouble dressing and feeding himself.

    It’s a little awe inspiring, then, to find out Propp will be one of the stars skating in Saturday’s alumni game for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary celebrations.

    “I have to take it slowly. Mentally, I’m not there yet. My brain doesn’t work that well yet. I have trouble with numbers, days of the week, and things like that. So it’s just going to take me a little time,” Propp told reporter Jamie Apody.

    Propp suffered his stroke in September of 2015 and has been on the mend ever since, telling the TV station:

    “I remember falling out of bed in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

    Propp’s right side was motionless and his

    Read More »from Former Flyers star Brian Propp to skate in alumni game months after stroke

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